Being the only member of G Style who exclusively uses an iPhone, I have the unique opportunity to try out one of Google’s latest services, Google+ on an iOS device. Unique in that unlike my peers here, I don’t have the luxury of using a native Google+ app and am instead forced to use the Google+ web app.
Now, I have no idea how the Google+ app on Android is and what functionality is included so I really have nothing to compare my experiences with the web app with. What I Can tell you is that what I’ve seen so far is a bit underwhelming and I’m honestly really not all that impressed with it at the moment. It all just seems very basic and and a mish-mash of different social networking ideas combined into one. I see shades of Twitter, Facebook, and even Foursquare, however I don’t see how I would be using this over Twitter of Facebook at the moment.
Part of the problem for me is that you really have to know people in order to even enjoy Google+. Unlike Twitter or even Facebook, Google+ does not really offer up a convenient way of discovering people you might know or people who you might find interesting. Right now everything is based on your Gmail address book and who you have saved in it. Yes I know it’s in beta and only open to a few people right now, but it really is not all that exciting when only a handful of people you know are on it. Another problem is that Google+ is yet another social network so if you have friends who are already heavily invested in Facebook or Twitter, the likelihood of them switching to a new network is unlikely.
Now, that’s not to say Google+ doesn’t have potential and there are a few features I do like about it. Being able to share only certain things within a given circle is a fantastic idea. Facebook does it to an extent, but Google+ does it better. Although, I can see Facebook maybe stealing the idea and using their groups feature in the same way.
I would also like to see a more public stream on Google+ in order to discover more people to interact with, similar to what Twitter does. If not, than I might as well stick to using Facebook if its going to be a closed system. At least on Facebook, it seems easier to search for people you might know.
There’s more I could say about Google+ and I could probably go on and on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll leave with this, in order for Google+ to succeed, I really think they need to do more than just create a new network. They must find a way to integrate all the other networks into its ecosystem in order to really appeal. I mean it’s already bad enough I have to check in on both Facebook and Twitter so I don’t have time to check into a third network. If Google+ would allow me to also see my Facebook network, Twitter network, and any other network while simultaneously viewing Google+, that would be a huge plus. Also being able to post to all the major networks at the same time would also be great.
With that said, remember my impressions are based on the fact that I am using an iOS device. According to others, the Android experience is fantastic, but on iOS, it’s really not worth my time right now.
I do see a lot of potential with Google+, but I’m not going to get excited with it just yet only because I’ve been burned by so many other Google ideas that seemed great at first (Google Wave and Google Buzz, but due to lack of Google’s direction and dedication to the service, they went the way of the DoDo. Google has a habit of hyping up their products and then delivering something that isn’t quite complete and letting everyone down.